“The facsimile edition gathers the various parts of the original illuminated manuscript whose main part (43 leaves) is preserved at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. Two other leaves are in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, one last leaf being today property of the J.P. Getty Museum.
This work has been published in a single run, limited at 980 numbered copies in Arabic numbers for sale in the entire world.”
This copy bears n°144.
« The Crusader Bible, also known as the Morgan Picture Bible, the Maciejowski Bible, and the Shah ‘Abbas Bible, is not only one of the greatest medieval manuscripts in the Morgan, it also ranks as one of the incomparable achievements of French Gothic illumination.
The miniatures represent one of the greatest visualizations of Old Testament events ever made. Some of the stories and their heroes are well known, but there are also accounts of less familiar Israelites who fought for the Promised Land—tales that resonate to this day. There are incredibly violent battle scenes in which the implements of war are so accurately depicted they could be replicated. And there are scenes of everyday life, love, hate, and envy, as well as adultery, rape, and murder—all set in thirteenth-century France. »
(Description du manuscrit par The Morgan Library & Museum.)
This Bible, presumably financed by King Louis IX around 1240, counts 46 leaves illustrated with 283 illustrations of the Ancient Testament, from Genesis to the confrontation between David and his son, Absalom, in the Second Book of Samuel.
The history of this work and the way it was passed on between its different owners remains unsure.
Nevertheless, we know that initially, the work only included the illustrations, whose production was the result of a common effort, probably from various workshops. The stagings are particularly avant-gardist: characters getting out of the frame, use of the margin as a place of action, taste for instantaneous movement evocate modern illustration.
The accompanying text, at the top or foot of the miniatures, was added when it arrived at the Naples Court around 1300. As for the inscriptions in Persian language, they were probably made after the arrival of the manuscript in Ispahan, after Cardinal Maciejowski offered it to the Shah of Iran Abbas I.
Superb reproduction of one of the most precious illuminated manuscripts of the 13th century, richly illustrated with 283 full-page miniatures enhanced with gold.